Solid State Hybrid Drives

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gslrider, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. gslrider macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    Nov 4, 2005
    #1
    I've been reading up on installing and SSD drive into the optical drive of a Mac Pro and pairing it with a regular HDD, making a Fusion Drive. However, I have the Mac 3,1 (early 2008), and they don't come ready with SATA cables. More work than I'd like to put in. And not easy from what I gather, because to add a SATA cable from the motherboard to the the optical bay, you'll have to tinker around with parts inside to make it fit properly. Not willing to do that.

    So then I heard about Seagates SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive). Not exactly a Fusion Drive, but apparently some testing sites I've checked, said it's still a speed bump over using a regular HDD. Has anyone use or have any experience with these hybrid drives? Is it worth getting, or stick with a regular HDD. If sticking with a regular HDD. Any suggestions on economical 2TB, 7200rpm drive?

    While on the topic, does anyone know what the max HDD size can be used on early 2008 Mac Pro Xeon? Tx.
     
  2. AkuskaUK macrumors 6502

    AkuskaUK

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    #2
    I currently have two of the 2tb versions sat in my Mac Pro. I bought one to see what they were like and was so surprised and happy with its performance that I bought another! After a week or so of using your machine how you normally would you will see a difference from standard hdd's.

    I really do recommend them!
     
  3. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #3
    To me they occupy a middle ground where if you're coming from a spinner you'll be really happy. If you're coming from an SSD then there will be times where you wonder what you were thinking.
     
  4. AidenShaw, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #4
    I'm thinking that I got the fastest 4TB drive around for less than $200. ;)

    By the way, that Seagate SSHD has another great feature. Normally one would never enable writeback cache (delayed writing) in a desktop drive - if the power failed suddenly the "dirty" cache data would be lost.

    The Seagate SSHD, however, always enables the writeback cache for much faster writes (in small bursts of a few tens of MiB).

    In other words, they turn the spindle motor into a generator, and use the momentum of the spinning platters to power the electronics long enough to save the dirty data onto the "SSD" part.

    Brilliant!
     
  5. gslrider thread starter macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    #5
    Thanks for the reply everyone. Always prefer to hear real world usage opinions. Actual testing sites are cool, if you want to know what something can really do under controlled scenarios. But it doesn't always apply to real world scenarios. And with varying systems.

    I'll be purchasing one of these today. Will post back on my experience. :D
     
  6. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #6
    Honestly I think these are difficult drives to test, benchmark wise. Perceived performance is really what they're after, if that makes any sense.

    Everything depends on what's being accessed and where it's located, as well as bursts as mentioned above (that can be cached).
     
  7. gslrider thread starter macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    #7
    I agree. I guess it would really all depend on each individual. For me, if it does seem faster than my other drives, then it's a PLUS. Doesn't have to be that much faster, just faster. And at $112 for a 2TB, I wouldn't be able to complain. My biggest concern, is that I veered away from Seagate long ago, because their drives kept failing on me within a year of buying. Switched to WD drives, and they've lasted for years. The one that failed, was the original drive that came with my Mac 3,1 in 2008. That's pretty darn good. The newest drive I have is about 3 years old, and still working great.
     
  8. AxoNeuron macrumors 65816

    AxoNeuron

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    #8
    I honestly would just get a small SSD and a regular hard drive. For stuff you need fast access to, put it on the SSD and put everything else on the HDD. manage it manually, that would give you the best possible results.
     
  9. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #9
    manual storage management?

    I've gone with the SSHD as the standard spinner in several systems that I've purchased..

    They have a 256 GB 840 Pro in the system for OS and apps and stuff that needs to be fast.

    The SSHD is just a big spinner with benefits. The 4TB SSHD costs $10 more than the same drive without the flash cache. IMO that's $10 that's well spent - even if only for the fact that the drive's write-back cache can be safely enabled.

    Nobody should believe that the SSHD performs like a 4TB SSD, but they should realize that it's often quite a bit faster than the spinner that's $10 cheaper.
     
  10. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    #10

    Attached Files:

  11. gslrider, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

    gslrider thread starter macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    #11
    I have the Mac 3,1, apparently it's quite the hassle to try and run an SATA cable from the logic board up the optical bay. I've looked at it myself in my system. And everything is pretty tight, in terms of where parts are positioned. Running the cable keeps other parts from moving back into place properly. You have to do some modifications to make it fit. Which I'm not will to do. Also, you don't really need that multimount. I've heard some people just let the SSD drive sit in the optical drive bay loosely (cables keep it place), or keep it down using velcro. Thanks for the ifixit link. That's a pretty cool, and informative site.

    I can go the route of using one of the bays, and a custom bracket to house an SSD drive. But I would loosing out on a valuable storage capacity, that an HDD has. I can't afford a 1TB SSD drive, let alone a 2TB or 4TB. If I can find an easier way of running a SATA and power cable from the board to the optical bay, without modifying anything, I can use a 256GB SSD, and still have 4 HDDs for storage. And I can do what I really wanted to do in the first place, create a Fusion drive between a 256 SSD, and a 2TB HDD.

    In regards to how the SSHD is going, it's actually pretty good. Not as fast as Fusion setup, but I do notice read times are much quicker when I boot from it. Compared to my current startup drive. Write times are just a little bit faster. But I would have to say negligible. Considering the Seagate SSHD was cheaper than a regular 2TB HDD, I think I got my money's worth. Now the only thing I'm keeping an eye on, is how long this drive will last.
     
  12. uller6, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

    uller6 macrumors member

    uller6

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    #12
    I put two SATA cables into the slots under my optical bay, and it wasn't hard at all. 2 screws to remove the front fan assembly, then you pull it out. You remove the two front hard drives by pulling up, and remove the optical bay by pulling up. This is as easy as it gets when taking apart a computer. The SATA ports are underneath the front fan assembly. There's plenty of space for the two SATA cables to run from the ports, under the hard drive ports to the optical drive area. You do not have to make any modifications, and everything fits back properly. I have 2 crucial SSDs attached to these SATA cables running off a molex SATA power splitter

    http://www.amazon.com/2-Port-Splitt...403&sr=8-2&keywords=molex+data+power+splitter

    attached to the extra molex port in the optical drive bay. The SSDs sit below the optical drive, since my desktop isn't going anywhere and the SSDs have no moving parts. Seriously, the upgrade will take you 5 minutes: it's much easier than you think, and the extra two SATA ports are very much worth the effort.

    To answer your question: I have 2x 4 TB Hitachi Deskstar drives in mine, and they work fine. They were the largest size available on the market when I purchased them, and I see no reason why the MP wouldn't be able to take larger drives when they become available.

    If you're going to stick with a regular 7200 RPM HDD, I recommend either Hitachi Deskstar or Seagate Barracuda drives. For some reason my mac pro runs much slower if I have a WD drive (blue or black, multiple sizes) installed in any of the drive bays. If I populate the bays with a combination of Seagate, Samsung, or Hitachi drives the MP runs much faster. I don't have a good explanation for this behavior.
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #13
    Seagate no longer makes any drives with the "Barracuda" label.

    http://www.seagate.com/products/desktop-storage/desktop-internal-drives/

    I checked a couple of "Desktop SSHD" drives against "Desktop HDD" drives at Central, and the SSHDs were $10 more than the ones without the flash cache. A bargain for what you get.
     
  14. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    Nov 23, 2012
    #14
    Looks like they still do. Scroll to the bottom:

    http://www.seagate.com/store/

    Lou
     
  15. AidenShaw, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #15
    That looks like a typo in the Seagate store pages - the "Barracuda" tile has a picture of a "Desktop HDD" and the link is to the "Desktop HDD" page.

    Somebody didn't read the memo about the rebranding. ;)

    That, or the store is clearing out old inventory with the old branding. In any event, "still selling Barracudas" and "still making Barracudas" are different things, and I said the latter.
     
  16. gslrider thread starter macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    #16
    Interesting. I'll definitely look into that uller6. Thanks for the info.

    Btw...what length SATA cable did you use?
     
  17. uller6 macrumors member

    uller6

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    #17
  18. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #18
    Interesting reading for me too - I have to get some fast spinners for a job shortly. I shall try and take my wd black blinkers off! :)
     
  19. gslrider thread starter macrumors 6502

    gslrider

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    #19
    Cool. Thanks uller6. $6 isn't bad. I'm going to see if my local computer store has this. Just to confirm, it's the female to female 7 pin cable, with the 90 degree connection on one end?
     
  20. uller6 macrumors member

    uller6

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    #20
    I used SATA female-female cables (7 pins) with a 90 degree port on one end.
     

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